Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day so we headed out to enjoy the sunshine. We were meeting some friends at the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground in Hyde Park. It is a stunning free play area with a huge pirate ship surrounded by a beach as the main attraction.
We arrived around 11am and it was already soooo busy. I guess I had forgotten that it is still school holidays and the sun was shining which is a bad combination when it comes to busy London attractions.
We eventually found our friends and George was just begging me to let him climb aboard the pirate ship. We dumped our stuff and Sophie and I followed an insanely excited George to the entrance of the ship. He climbed aboard with his little friend and they headed ‘below deck’ to play. Sophie and I waved at him through the port holes and watched him digging in the sand and basically having the time of his life.
Sophie is still a bit little to climb around on her own so I just followed her as she explored and played in the sand, staying close to the pirate ship and keeping George in view.
George shouted to me through the port hole that he was going to come up top and meet me so that he could give me the bucket he had finished playing with. Sophie was running in all directions so I had to get hold of her then make my way around the ship. Bear in mind, this whole time you are surrounded by excited children shouting and screaming and pushing past you.
We made it to the other side of the ship but there was no George. I looked through the little windows and couldn’t see him. I waited for him to come up the steps but he didn’t. I shouted his name but he didn’t answer. I went back to my friend to see if he was there and he wasn’t. She immediately took one side of the park and I took the other, shouting his name and scanning the crowd.
I expected to see him within a minute or two but I didn’t. That’s when I could feel the panic start to rise up inside of me. I kept telling myself that he was there somewhere just happily playing, blissfully unaware that I was even looking for him. As time went on though and I periodically saw my friend shake her head to say she hadn’t found him yet, all sorts of other terrifying thoughts started flooding my mind.
‘What if someone has just scooped him up and taken him?’
‘What if he has hurt himself and is lying alone somewhere bleeding?’
‘What if he is looking for me and can’t find me and is feeling scared and abandoned?’
It was horrible. I started to run around that park, shouting his name and looking like a crazy woman. I felt so envious seeing all of the other children and parents enjoying their care free day, just as we had been doing a few minutes earlier. I wished I could turn back the clock and just see where he went. I decided to head to the exit to make sure that he hadn’t wondered all the way out of the park.
I literally bumped right into him and hadn’t even realised. He was holding the hand of a lady who I think worked there but I still can’t be sure. His little tear stained face looked so scared and upset. I just grabbed him and hugged him, feeling such relief to have him in my arms where he belonged. I thanked the kind lady and just carried on holding my boy. ‘I couldn’t find you Mummy, I was really scared’ his quivering little voice exclaimed as I showered him with a million kisses. I felt so guilty that he had been so scared and I hadn’t been there.
He had told the lady what I was wearing so that they could both look out for me in the crowd. When I found this out, I felt really proud that he hadn’t just cried and cried but had used his little brain to think about how he could find me. Children are much more sensible than we give them credit for.
It really was one of the scariest moments of my life, to think that I might have lost him. It makes you realise how much your children need you, but also how much you need them. I’m thankful for this happy ending.